“Balance the body and the hair will follow” Is my motto. As a Cosmetologist, I aim to share with the community and Beauty Professionals the urgency of Trichology and hair loss-related facts, issues, trends and solutions. But, we ourselves must become equipped with the first-hand knowledge before we can share it with others. We cannot teach what we don’t understand. It’s easy to share a blog post or an email but we need to ‘get it…….’
Life doesn’t imitate art when it comes to the scalps left behind after years of abuse. Our beautifully coiffed hair style choices have been a blessing and a curse. Years of hot dryers, tight braids, quick weave styles and sew-ins that last for months……… beneath those styles lies a scalp that hasn’t been shampooed and is loaded with yeast and urea ‘build-up.’ Then there’s the dreaded ‘no-lye-relaxers’, lack of sleep, genetics, inflammation, thyroid, and sugar and increasingly-stressful lives, birth control pills and shots, diabetes, cancers, ‘Daniel fasts,’ incorrectly styled lace units; who really knows! I DO KNOW that we as a nation, a culture and a people need to get it together or we will lose what we have left!
Could it have been avoided? Maybe, but we’ll explore the aspect of ‘loss of hair.’ Despite the abundance of information needed to solve our ‘hair-growth and hair loss-conundrum,’ it seems as if we are ‘overburdened’ and have ‘paralysis of analysis’ of information. ‘Rice water, eggs and mayonnaise, chebe powder, aloe juice……”let’s go #teamnatural!”
My suggestion is, ‘go back to the basics’ the way we did when we were smaller. Go back to the days when our parents actually ‘cared for our hair.’ We must revisit a time when our grandparents gave us the ‘old-school’ home remedies. Our mom’s gave the entire household chicken soup & cod liver oil. We actually got to know the commode a lot better on the weekend. Today, no one wants to poop. There were no ‘burned’ or ‘snatched-out’ edges or severely scarred scalps back then, only sponge rollers and possibly marks on the bathroom counter from a ‘very burned’ handle of the pressing comb.
There has always been a loss of hair or as the medical term exists, ‘alopecia’ but it’s rapidly gaining traction and popularity. We must return to ‘caring’ for our hair and loving ourselves the way we take a long, hot bath. Although there are no known, pin-pointed causes for the loss of the many types of alopecia that exist, there are many contributing factors we can all agree with Stress, Genetics (congenital or inherited), Hair styling & care, Disease, Fungal and bacterial, Endocrine, UV Ray exposure, Nutrition and micronutrient supplementation, Medications, and a faulty digestion system yet for the sake of this article, I will focus on ‘Nutrition.’
As a Certified I.A.T Trichologist, I recommend a 3-tiered or a pyramid system
approach to support the body’s immunity and growth. Medication consumption is an additional factor to be considered while achieving homeostasis. It doesn’t matter if the pyramid is ‘top-down or right-side up.’ The fact is, have this as part of your hair bible. Hair and its quality is a barometer of our health. When it becomes lackluster, experiences fall-out or it begins to thin, changes in our lifestyle must be made or there must be change made within the body. A reduction or a deficiency in certain micronutrients, inflammation and exposure to oxidative stress can and does cause dis-ease. Despite the blind and double blind studies on hair loss, there is no definitive research on nutrient supplements and hair loss. One third of the pyramid consists of Vitamins and minerals. Despite the addition of additives in fortified foods and the availability of the American diet, minerals have been slowly eradicated from our soil, leaving our food deficient. The abundance of hormones added to speed growth and prevent sickness and a diet of hi-protein and corn feeds, this creates long-lasting change in us leading us to consume greener, cleaner lives.
Each time I sit with a client during a trichology consultation, I ask, ‘are you supplementing with vitamins and minerals?’ Almost always, the answer is, ‘no, I don’t like taking pills…’ We cannot create change without stimulating it. The top third of the pyramid is vitamins and minerals or micronutrient supplementation. The middle tier are probiotics and digestive enzymes, followed by antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Start with your water-soluble and fat soluble vitamins and add your minerals. For example, a reduction or deficiency of vitamin A in some countries causes ‘rickets.’ “It’s essential for healthy hair. It repairs it and helps to keep the scalp moist.” Healthy levels of vitamin A are needed to ensure that the body’s immune and reproductive systems are functioning properly.” For ‘melanin-rich’ women, a reduction in vitamin D necessary for cholesterol and hormones, this is one a few key indicators of ‘crownal’ diffusion in the vertex area of the scalp. Calcium and phosphorus are needed for vitamin D absorption while C and E are strong immunity supporters further enhanced when taken with Antioxidants. Additional examples are, an imbalance or reduction in the absorption of iodine may be precursor of a thyroid imbalance. Sufficient Zinc and copper consumption is needed for keratinization at the hair’s root.
The mineral iron is needed to support hemoglobin (red blood cell) levels in the body. The cells help to furnish the capillaries with oxygen transport to the root of the hair shaft.
Digestive enzymes and probiotics cannot be forgone in the intricate cycle that God has provided. As we age, the upper G.I. needs to be supported as the digestive capacity of our stomach and bile quality is reduced, placing a higher burden on the pancreas for enzymes to break down our food. The inability increases with advanced age and none are immune. Undigested food leaves SOME prone to a diffuse hair loss pattern over time due to poor nutrient absorption.
Increased intake of sugars, the hi-acidity of the body, slow transit time and exiting of waste and low amounts of’ ‘good bacteria’ can lead to ‘auto-intoxication’ or toxins to be re-absorbed through the permeable gut lining causing ones to become sick more often with colds, yeast infections, and increased sensitivity of the skin and scalp (CCCA).
Antioxidants and Anti-inflammories or are our final component of the pyramid. We can experience increased hair fallout from an interruption of each body system, all of which must be supported. Every cell in the body has a life cycle of 30 days. Due to the increased oxidative stress on the body, without the addition of anti-oxidants, the cells of the hair and the body may die off more quickly exposing us to rapid degenerative processes. The addition of anti-oxidants creates a fighting chance as it reduces free radical cell attacks, while extending the life cycle of immunity supporting vitamins such Vitamin C and E, consumed on a regular basis. The cells of the hair in certain scarring alopecia patients could benefit due to the auto-immune attacks faced by the stem cells of the follicle. The anti-inflammories assist in reducing pain, stiffness and swelling of the scalp skin. Increased acidity levels and the reduction of anti-inflammatory sources leave acid deposits in the joints causing arthritis, gout in the ankles or pain in the scalp. I mention this again because the care of the entire body is essential. “There are no fences in the human body…” Dr. Sheryl Duchess, naturopath We wish to extend the life and quality of the cell reducing its expiration. Antioxidants such as ginger, turmeric root, resveratrol, grape skins, OPC3 bio-available supplementation, Omega 3, 6 and 9’s consisting of minimal animal proteins, nuts, oils, seeds and various fruit assist in this regard.
To conclude, the addition of vitamins, minerals, digestive enzymes, probiotics anti-oxidants, and anti-inflammatories all have their place of importance. Many of the items mentioned perform various functions besides what are listed. Of course, every vitamin and mineral has not been mentioned above. This article is solely to educate, reminding us that it’s more than…. “I don’t like taking pills…” Supplements are meant to supplement and enhance the diet and we should all consume them. They are not the bad guy they help us function better. Put down the coffee and try a rich green, chlorella filled shake. When your stylist mentions a change in your hair quality, try adding a trusted bio-available supplement regimen and consider what you’ve read. Your body, your hair loss professional or trichologist will thank you.
LaRonne K. Quarles, Cosmetologist, Certified I.A.T Trichologist,
Wellness specialist and owner of SBLHairloss, Pleasantville, New Jersey.